Washington, D.C., may not be known as the city that never sleeps, but that title is easily deserved by its students on the Hilltop. The Georgetown population is one that works tirelessly to improve its surroundings, whether on campus, in the city or internationally. And little things like sleep or summer break stand in the way.
While the hotter days away from Georgetown may offer the perfect excuse to indulge in catching up on favorite TV shows or going to the movies so often the ushers know your name, many student groups, ranging from campus mainstays to smaller service organizations, took advantage of the break from classes to further their mission.
The International Relations Club partnered with its sister organization, the Georgetown International Relations Association, to send members of the IRC to China and India this summer, where they taught Model United Nations strategy to more than 800 Indian students. The program in India, which is new this year, resulted from a partnership with the Global Model UN Ambassador Program.
In China, IRC members were split between Beijing and Chengdu. The Beijing program resulted from a similar partnership with the Model UN program, allowing participants to teach Model UN to high-school students before a high school Model UN conference held in China each August. The program in Chengdu partnered with Alpha Partners, a Chinese education services provider.
“The two Chinese programs were similar in nature, but the latter was more academic,” GIRAChairwoman Theresa Lou (SFS ’14) said. “The students there taught international security, maritime law and Model UN debate and writing skills.”
Jeff Caso (SFS ’15), chairman of the IRC Board of Directors, participated in a four-week-long Western education program summer camp in China.
“The program sought to empower Chinese high school students to think critically about international relations,” Caso wrote in an email.
Teachers came from around the world, including the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man, Kenya, Germany and the United States. Georgetown students working at the camp taught courses in English public speaking, logic and debate, international law, Model UN rules of procedure and global health. Other courses offered included drama, art and other international relations courses, amounting to 2800 minutes of class time over the span of the camp.
“Students participated in a Model UN conference that sought to combine all the skills they had learned at the end of the camp,” Caso wrote. “It was honestly a life-changing experience.”
GIRA also spent the summer revamping its website to provide more material for its two conferences: the North American Invitational Model United Nations for high school students and the National Collegiate Security Conference for college students.
“Background guides for the conferences are available to high school students or whatever third party that is interested,” said Lou. “We have done this in hopes to further expand our mission of educating youth on international affairs.”
GlobeMed at Georgetown University sent a group of its members to Primeros Pasos, a clinic inQuetzaltenango, Guatemala. GlobeMed — a nonprofit that has chapters at different universities around the country — aims to create strong bonds between grassroots organizations, like PrimerosPasos, and college campuses. The program sends interns to various locations every summer, including Southeast Asia, Africa and disadvantaged communities in the United States.
“We did both field work and office work,” said Leah Rusenko (NHS ’15), a member of GlobeMed and an intern in Guatemala this summer. “In the mornings, we worked at clinics in a rural valley that mostly served indigenous people and would go to local schools and teach lessons on nutrition and hygiene in Spanish.”
Interns also worked on projects ranging from researching the valley and rural Guatemala to revising the child health curriculum. Currently, Primeros Pasos is working on expanding its nutrition program.
“The pilot nutrition program was 100 percent successful, which is important because nutrition is a big problem there,” Rusenko said.
Closer to campus, Students of Georgetown Inc., spent the last few months renovating its storefronts, improving the software used on cash registers and working to bring products to the student body.
“The cash register software has been completely redeveloped by our IT department,” Director of Uncommon Grounds Kyle O’Donnell (COL ’14) said. “This allowed us to save money and keep everything in house.”
In an effort to continue serving students, the three directors of Uncommon Grounds, More Uncommon Grounds and Midnight MUG partnered to create new products, examining the coffee brewing process to evaluate freshness and looking at new potential products, including smoothies and new chai drinks.
“We also continued to look at our practices,” O’Donnell said. “Can we do things quicker? Can we have a better quality product? How do we serve the student body better?”
Midnight MUG was painted over the summer, and new fridges that take up less space were installed, allowing for more natural light. At UG, O’Donnell is also evaluating the store’s aesthetics, including lighting, paint and sofas.
“We want to make it a better spot for the student body to hang out and to work, and a better space for in-store performances,” O’Donnell said.